At Christmas we often think about Jesus' divinity, about how God became incarnate – took on flesh and blood – in Jesus. Messianic titles from the Old Testament like Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace are applied to Jesus. Our hymns particularly emphasize Jesus' divinity; we sing about Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords and, in an ancient hymn from the fourth century, as the Alpha and Omega, the source and the ending. In the midst of this celebration of the incarnate Word, however, it is important not to lose sight of Jesus' humanity.
Many of the details of Jesus' birth from the Gospel of Luke, which we read every Christmas Eve, are intended to stress Jesus' humanity. His father and mother were ordinary people subject to the whims of the government, which commanded that they travel when she was nine months pregnant. He was born is a stable, perhaps the equivalent today of being born in a garage, and his first visitors were the workingmen, the shepherds, who happened to be working nearby. He was not a big city sophisticate, but a provincial from an obscure outpost of the Roman Empire. He was a carpenter, perhaps not a cabinetmaker but one who worked on local construction sights. Jesus was, in Boris Pasternak's evocative phrase, "emphatically human."
At Christmas the Divine deigned to share our humanity, but, just as importantly, our humanity shared God's divinity. The Incarnation raises humanity to a higher plane and gives us a foretaste of the destiny hat awaits us in heaven.
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, November 11, 2013. The following are highlights of what was discussed that evening:
Plant & Equipment
Committee chair, Richard Whaley reported on the following:
Rector's ReportThe Staten Island "walkabout" for candidates for Suffragan Bishop of New York will take place at Christ Church on Wednesday, November 13, from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M. The election will be held at the Cathedral on December 7. The Bishop's visitation is set for Sunday, December 15.
Flower Fund Envelopes will be found in the pews during the month of December. Those who would like to contribute to the Memorial Flowers for Christmas should list names of those to be remembered on the front of the envelope and place the envelope with donation in the offering plate on Sunday morning.Checks should be drawn to Christ Church New Brighton. All names must be received NO LATER than Wednesday, December 18 to be listed in the Christmas bulletin.
On Saturday, December 21 at the History Center, Building H, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, from 2 to 4 P.M., Barnett Shepherd will hold a book signing for his new book Staten Island Scenery: Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, 1679-1900. Published jointly by the Staten Island Historical Society and the Staten Island Museum, it contains over 165 historical images of Staten Island and sells for $29.95.
It was a wonderful afternoon when the candidates for Suffragan Bishop of New York came to Christ Church New Brighton for their "walkabout" on Wednesday, November 13. The weather was notably sunny and warm. The candidates arrived at 12 Noon and were served lunch in the Rectory. They had come down in a van from their morning engagement in White Plains. Their "walkabout" was held in the church. It took the form of a panel discussion led by the Nominating Committee's very capable Rev. Buddy Stallings, former Rector of the Church of the Ascension on Staten Island and present Rector of St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan. The discussion was very fair. It was well organized and conducted and gave each of the six candidates many opportunities to speak and to answer specific questions, some of them written on cards that were submitted by the congregation.
The whole event seemed to me like a retreat. It had special devotional qualities that inspired me. The wealth of dedication, talent, and life and professional experience among the candidates was amazing. A break in the middle of the afternoon took place in the Guild Room and offered a lavish array of food, organized I believe by Beth McLean, Alleida Mitchell, and Elizabeth Gattullo.The candidates went on to their evening program in Manhattan at Trinity Church Wall Street. As we look forward to the election on December 7 we can trust that our diocesan leadership is, and will be, in good hands. God bless the Episcopal Diocese of New York!
Don't forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, December 15.At that time our diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Dietsche, will be making a visitation to Christ Church where he will administer confirmation and will also receive into the Episcopal Church those who were confirmed in another denomination during the 10 a.m. service.
St. Paul's Church in Stapleton will be hosting their annual Festival of Lessons & Carols on Sunday, December 22 at 4 p.m. The cost is $30 per seat.
Voyces, under the direction of Beth Johanning, will be presenting an interesting and exciting program that afternoon. The program will also feature the traditional lessons and carols that make this afternoon so special.This is a wonderful way to begin your Christmas celebration - don't forget to mark the date on your calendar!
Katie McGough is collecting NEW socks for our community to keep them warm this winter. And is asking for your help.
The goal is to collect 400 pairs of socks – men's women's, children's – crew or high socks (no ankle socks, please!).
Drop your donation off at the church or leave them in the Parish Office by Sunday, December 15. All socks will be delivered to the Trinity Lutheran Soup Kitchen for distribution to those in need.If you have any questions Katie can be reached at Katie McGough.
Christ Church's annual meeting will be held on Sunday, January 26, following the 10:00 a.m. service.
One of the most important jobs of the annual meeting is to elect new vestry members. This year we will elect one warden for a two-year term; four vestry persons for three-year terms; and one vestry persons for a two-year term to complete an unexpired term.
If you have someone you would like to be considered for nomination, please speak to a member of the nominating committee. The committee members are:Willie Black, Jr., chair
The Annual Parish Meeting of Christ Church New Brighton will be held on Sunday, January 26, 2013 at 11:45 a.m. in the parish hall auditorium.At the annual meeting, you will hear oral reports from the rector and treasurer, receive written reports from the other committees and groups in the church, and elect new vestry members. This is you opportunity to learn about the financial and administrative workings of the church and, most importantly, to celebrate our life together as a Christian community.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Pageant Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. & 10 a.m.
December 24, Christmas Eve
4 p.m. Holy Eucharist featuring the Christ Church Community Youth Choir & Christ Church Community Youth Drummers
10 p.m. Candlelit Choral Holy Eucharist with the Christ Church Choir
December 25, Christmas Day
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Watch Night, can properly refer either to New Year's Eve or to a religious service held on New Year's Eve. Under either usage, it may be a term unfamiliar to some, in that the observance of watch nights among Christians has evolved into primarily an African-American practice.Watch Night is celebrated by congregants' gathering at their churches on the last evening of the year to attend special services that typically commence between 7 and 10 p.m. and continue through midnight and into the New Year. These services are regarded by participants as a time to reflect upon and give thanks for the departing year and pray for the future, a spiritual way of celebrating a largely secular holiday. Many churches embrace them as an alternative to the partying and drinking often associated with New Year's Eve.
Family Dance at Christ Church
Saturday, December 28
Time: 7 to 10 p.m.
Suggested donation: Individual - $10
Family of Four: $35; (each additional family member: $5)
For more information and to purchase tickets:
Christ Church Parish Office: 718-727-6100
Sheila Hewitt: 718-447-8049
By now everyone should have received a pledge card and letter from Nancy Reiersen-Scromo, Stewardship chairperson, and the rector about this year's stewardship campaign.The in-gathering for pledge cards is Sunday, December 8. Please consider carefully and prayerfully what you can give to support the work of Christ Church.
1 – Jade Hazelwood, Clyve Hutton;
5 – Stephen Gross, Victor Stanwick;
6 – Christopher McGough; 9 – Sarah McLean; 14 – Ginny Spadaro; 15 – Oscar Hazelwood, Amy Mazziotti; 17 – Lester Blair; 18 – Willie Black, Jr, Iris Brown, Sandra Cocks, Tovin Hewitt; 21 – Cathy Romano; 22 – Charlie Nygard; 24 – Sunitha Massey; 25 – Nick Dowen, Kirstin Swanson-Basso; 26 – Scott Samarisi; 28 – Nathaniel Seeley II; 31 – Christine Gross;
9 – David & Laraine Holt, Ronald & Sunitha Massey; 13 – Karen & Paul Smith, Joseph & Theresa Gilman; 27 – Shirley & Willie Black, Jr.;
Season's Greetings to all of our readers! We are now in the midst of the season of Advent as we prepare for the birth of Jesus and the joyous celebrations of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve Watch Night.
Not really a lot to report this month, but taking time to give thanks to the many dedicated parishioners who have given so generously of their time and talents to get our young people to get them more involved in parish life – Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Godly Play, Rite 13, Christmas Cards for those in the Armed Services; Socks for the Needy and so much more.
Happy news for Bill Brown and his family as they celebrated at the marriage of his granddaughter, Brianne Pineiro, last month.
Also, condolences go out to Bill Keck on the passing of his dad in November; and to our sexton, Lester Jean, on the sudden passing of his brother, Arthur Joseph Bergamini this month.To all of our readers, best wishes for a blessed and happy holiday season. See you all next year!